In our first blog post we spoke about how to help a loved one suffering with an eating disorder at different stages of wellness and treatment. In todays post, we wanted to dedicate an entire blog to where someone can get help. Some of these tips you may already know and others you may never have thought of. As someone who worked as an intake worker at a community-based eating disorder clinic for over a decade, I hope to share some of my ‘pro-tips’ on where to start your search. I am confident by the end of this post you will become better informed on how to find resources.
Firstly, its important for anyone struggling with an eating disorder to have a primary care provider, for example a family physician or nurse practitioner. If someone struggling doesn’t have primary care, I strongly encourage them to get connected; local health units have a list of physicians accepting patients on their website.
In my experience, caregivers and those struggling typically reach out to their primary care first for help and ask where to go for counselling. Most primary care providers are aware of services in their local area, but on the off chance they don’t, its up to you to figure it out. So, where do you start? How do you know what to look for? Are there services in your local area? Are there free services? Are there paid services? Google can answer these questions, but where I would recommend starting is through the National Eating Disorder Information Center (NEDIC) website (www.nedic.ca). NEDIC has countless resources, information, a toll-free helpline, and live chat. NEDIC also has a list of services providers across Canada, fee for services and non-profit (free). Before you get started searching on their website, read their tip sheet for choosing a provider, this will help define your search. I have included the link below as I found it very helpful! At GSW counselling we are listed as one of the service providers and very proud to be apart of the community of mental health workers providing services to those struggling with an eating disorder.
When I worked as an intake worker, most people who called said they found services through google. Consider define your search to your local area (although not necessary with virtual treatment) and do your research. Firstly, consider if you would like to access a free community program or private practice (virtual or in person). This will help narrow your search. Regardless of the option, consider how long the service provider(s) have been working in this area, what is their specific training to help someone with an eating disorder, and what are the options for treatment they provide. Don’t forget to ask what professional college they are apart of because some insurance companies only cover psychologist, or social workers or both, this information will be valuable when making a decision. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you don’t understand something, that’s completely normal. I loved explaining services to family members and those seeking services. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that searching for a service can take work and often times you feel like you are being tossed from one service provider to another. Reach out to a trusted loved one or friend for support during this time and keep at it. If someone doesn’t call you back, call them again. I always recommend sending an email and calling an agency or service provider, this way you know you tried to reach them two different ways.
Before I go for today, I wanted to share one last search option for you and that is ConnexOntario. I will attach the link below. ConnexOntario is a search engine for mental health, addiction, and problem gambling services. Although it is not solely dedicated to eating disorders, eating disorder services are listed within the website and you can live chat with an agent to help with your search.
I hope this blog has provided you some information to help define your search for services. If you are interested in hearing more about GSW Counselling, please feel free to give us a call at 519-919-4499
Dr. Nikita Yeryomenko graduated with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Windsor in 2017, where he then worked for a number of years. He gained most of his experience in various university counselling centers. These settings are fast-paced, high-volume, and see individuals with a very wide variety of concerns…
Ms. Dana Dupuis has been a registered Social Worker in good standing with The Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Services Workers for the last 11 years. Most of that time she worked as an intake specialist at Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa Association, where she had carried significant caseloads and completed over….
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